Harry Douglas And The Punt Returner Job

Marc Serota

Has the talented slot receiver finally taken over the gig?

The Falcons have been stubborn about a great many things in 2012. They've kept pounding the rock with Michael Turner throughout the season, refused to sit starters even when it might have been wise to do so and scowled on the sideline long after it was fashionable to do so.

The single most frustrating bit of stubbornness might have come from Dominique Franks remaining at punt returner throughout the season. Franks has been a lackluster option, routinely making poor decisions with the football and maintaining a low average throughout. It's been baffling to see him stumble around back there week after week while Keith Armstrong and Mike Smith play cribbage on the sideline.

In Week 17, however, the Falcons decided to try something new. They trotted out Harry Douglas at punt returner for the Buccaneers game. He got four returns, and averaged 10.5 yards per return. That's not electrifying, but it's refreshingly solid. I enjoyed it.

The question becomes, will he stick at punt returner? It's just one game, but the evidence is pretty strong that Douglas offers more as a returner. With the Falcons coming into the playoffs and every mistake becoming magnified, it's hard to imagine they'd return to Franks, as unsteady as he's been as a returner.

Let's hope this is the status quo moving forward. Do you think it will be?

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